Maggie Bonham, or Margaret H. Bonham, is a multiple award-winning pet author and expert. She has written more than 20 books on pets.
It's no crime if you want to allow your dog on the furniture. Many people let their four-footed friends up on the couch, but if you don't want that to happen, it can be a big pain. If your dog gets up on the furniture and you don't want him to, you need to teach the rules to your dog early. Dogs are unable to differentiate between that ratty freebie from the $5,000 new couch you just bought, so here are ways to train your dog to stay off the furniture and keep him off.
Dog On Furniture?
Train "Off" From the Start
The best thing you can do is teach your dog or puppy that he isn't supposed to be on the furniture at all. This is easily enforced when your dog climbs up on a piece of furniture; show him a treat and lure him off. Use the command "off" to mean "four paws on the floor." Give him the treat when he complies.
The only time you should pick up your dog is when he is a puppy or a small breed and could be injured by the jump. If they are small or a puppy, you need to pick him up gently and place him on the floor with the word "off." Be sure to give him the treat.
Teach "Off" Now
Even if you have a dog who has been on the furniture awhile, you can teach him the "off" command. Just be consistent and train him to leave the furniture with the word "off." You will need a treat to lure him from his comfy place and give him the treat when he is on the floor and away from the furniture in question.
Give Your Dog His Own Furniture
Your dog is more likely to stay off your furniture if he has a comfy place of his own to lie down. When you catch your dog on a piece of furniture, tell him "off" and then lure him from the furniture. Then, you can tell him "bed" and lead him to his comfy bed. After several times, your dog will get the idea that he gets rewarded when he's off the couch and isn't bothered when he's on his own furniture.
It's natural to want to scold your dog, but in reality, it simply makes him do things behind your back. Unless you're planning on crating him during the day, chances are he'll be back up on the couch or your bed the moment you leave for work. It's better to just get him used to sleeping and relaxing on his own bed.
© 2014 MH Bonham